Monday, February 27, 2012

Random Thoughts on a Monday

I often like to post around a theme. For example, a bike ride where I got some good pictures. Or, a race report. Or a training update.

Sometimes, however, life just doesn’t fall into well-defined categories, even with a fairly rigid training schedule like mine.

With that in mind, I offer this hodgepodge of various thoughts and musings over the last week.

Item 1: Running, riding, swimming and lifting through the pain. There’s no question that I’ve been feeling it a little bit lately. That’s no surprise since my training schedule has picked up from something like 4-5 hours a week to more like 6-7. A three hour trainer ride about a week ago was trying and a 130 minute run this past Saturday was difficult. Strength workout has been harder since I started doing more crunches and increased the weight on the bench. My mantra has been that this is all going to pay off once the season starts.

Item 2: New toys. I’m fortunate to have a job that pays a pretty decent bonus around this time every year and that was the case again. As a result, I’ve gotten a couple of new toys. The first is a Garmin 910XT which is their newest multi-sport GPS watch. It went with me on the run Saturday and I’ve also had the opportunity to use it on my trainer as well as in the pool. The latter was pretty impressive. I just hit start like I do with a watch and it did the rest including counting my laps and yards. It will be really interesting once open-water season begins. The other new toy is a GoPro Hero HD camera. With it’s water-tight case I think I’ll be able to shoot some interesting video on the bike, on the run, maybe in the water and quite possibly on a zipline. More on that last one later.

Item 3: New bike. That same bonus is going toward a new tri-bike. I still love my Cannondale CAAD8 and expect to continue to use it, but I’d also like to get on something sport-specific. For the last few months, I’ve considered their TT bike, the Slice. Lately, however, I’ve become more intrigued with a Blue Triad SP. I’m impressed by their work on designing geometries with triathletes in mind. Time-trial cyclists don’t get off their bikes and go running.

Item 4: Travel. I’m a very fortunate person in that I get to travel to a lot of interesting places. Last summer, it was Italy. In a few days, it will be the beautiful island of Maui. I’m looking forward to training in warm weather, at sea level with fantastic scenery. As well-traveled as I am, this is my first-ever trip to Hawaii. I anticipate internet access and plan on doing multiple posts both about the training as well as a few other adventures.

For now, have a great week and thanks for reading!

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Body Was Talking To Me

I suspect most folks load up their weekends when they put together a training a plan. I'm no different. I started my three day weekend on Friday afternoon with a forty-five minute swim. I went at a pretty good clip of about 52 yards per minute. 

On Saturday, I had planned to do an outside run but the cold air made me change my plans to the trainer. That meant I spent three hours spinning and burning a couple thousand calories in the process.

Sunday's first workout was 30 minutes of strength work. The second was a 60 minute run. It was on the second workout that I heard from my body. Just one word but it was clear: REST. My heart rate was much higher than it normally is on a run and I kept feeling like I was losing my breath.

I've seen this before. In fact, I even posted a tip about it back in June. 

Today, I did nothing. Just rested and relaxed. What's more, I won't be doing anything more until tomorrow evening when I'll be back on the trainer again. 

It's a familiar lesson to almost anyone who does any kind of physical training, but it bears repeating: unless you're in the middle of a race, listen to your body when it's screaming at you to rest.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Another Race on the Schedule

It’s been in my plans for a while, but as of today, I am officially registered for the Boulder Peak Triathlon. This is part of the WTC 5i50 Series of Olympic (or International as they put it) distance races. There are less than a dozen races in the series (plus a championship race) so it’s much smaller than either their 70.3 or 140.6 Ironman offerings.

I’m excited and a little daunted. The bike stage includes a 15% grade hill through the foothills west of Boulder. And since what goes up must come down, there’s also a downhill section where a 35 MPH speed limit will be enforced!

Both the Swim and Run Course mark familiar territory since I’ve covered part of each at the Stroke and Stride series. The main difference here is that the distances will be doubled and the swim will be a single 1500 meter lap and the run will be an out and back, but extend 1.55 kilometers past the normal turnaround point. Another piece of good news about the run portion is that it is more or less flat—something almost unheard of in most of Boulder!

The Peak will be my first Oly of the year and, I think, good preparation for the HITS which is 3 weeks later. There’s much to do between now and then including some 129 hours of training and that includes two sprint tri’s a half marathon and a road race or two. Nevertheless, it’s good to have it on the official schedule and I’m looking forward to it.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Return of the Two-A-Day

I know--it sounds like a bad horror movie from the Fifties. In actuality, it's nothing more than my next step in ramping up my training, albeit slowly.

Starting last week, I dragged myself out of bed early to go and swim laps at the Rec Center before work. Since there are no Masters Swim classes on Wednesday, the pool is usually quiet. In fact, this morning, I was the only one there during my entire 1500 yard/30 minute swim. After my day was done at the office, I headed home, changed into the cold weather running gear and did an easy  40 minutes around the neighborhood.

This is a routine I'll keep for a couple of more weeks. I'm still, of course doing the rest of my workouts on the bike and still swimming and running longer distances on other days. It may not make a big difference in the grand scheme of things, but my experience last year taught me that this is a good way to signal my body and my subconscious that more work is coming. I did a similar set of two-a-days in February and March of last year and I think I was more mentally prepared for the bricks that began in April.

During the last couple of weeks, I've found myself creeping out of Z1 on both the run and the swim into the lower areas of Z2. While I hadn't planned to start going faster, it seems like it just sort of happened on its own. Since I'm still feeling okay, I suppose I can't complain. It will be nice to start working more on pace, especially as I head into full-on preparation for the Horsetooth Half Marathon which is now about 10 1/2 weeks away, but I'm sure that will fly by.

Right now it's just the slow and steady winter training time. I'm focused on what I'm doing, but I'm also looking forward to being where a triathlete belongs--outside.